Czechia changes its defense strategy in response to Russia

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Czech Republic's Defense Minister Jana Cernochova stand for the playing of national anthems during a welcoming ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
2 Min Read

The Czech government adopted a new defense strategy on Wednesday in response to escalating aggression from Russia. This new approach dictates that Czechia must be prepared for a prolonged defensive war against an adversary equipped with nuclear weapons. Central to this policy is the strengthening of military forces to serve in collective NATO defense.

Defense Minister Jana Czernochova remarked in a press conference that this new strategy implies a modernization of the army. As per the document endorsed by the government, another objective is the comprehensive operational preparation of Czech territory to accommodate, move, and support potentially significant allied forces.

This defense policy ties back to the security strategy the government ratified at the end of June, which asserts that Russia is deliberately acting against the political, economic and social stability of the Czech Republic, thereby posing a threat to its security.

The strategy emphasizes deterrence as a priority. It notes that the conflict in Ukraine has underscored the need for the Czech Republic’s active participation in NATO. In collaboration with its allies, Prague aims to bolster NATO’s capacity to deter adversaries from attacking and defend against aggression.

A critical precondition for Czech’s defense capabilities, as outlined in the strategy, is adequate financial provisions, setting annual defense expenditures at 2 percent of GDP. The document suggests that, if necessary, the Czech Republic might augment its defense spending.

The strategy highlights that the defense of the nation is not solely the responsibility of the defense ministry and the army. It requires the involvement of other state agencies and the broader society. The role of the national defense industry is also accentuated in the document.

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